Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cool streak chills July

Longest below-normal streak since March; no new heat on horizon.

Cool streak chills July

In the summer outlooks, no one mentioned the potential for record rains, but evidently the calls for a break from the elite heat of recent summers are going to end up being about right.

After a long and tedious steamy period that took hold on the Fourth of July, and a record run of warm overnights, today will mark the eighth consecutive day of below-normal temperatures in Philadelphia.

That would be the longest such stretch since the one that ended way back on  March 30, when the Phillies still had hope.

The official July temperature at Philadelphia International Airport is going to come in at about 80.6 degrees, or 2.5 above normal.

June was 1.3 above, and August is due to get off to a wet start, with generally below-normal temperatures forecast at least through next Tuesday, and no major heat threats are evident.

Thus the summer well could finish within 1.5 degrees or normal, or even less, in line with some of the seasonal outlooks.

The last three summers all ranked in the top six in the period of record dating to 1874. This should end up being one of the warmer ones, but might have a hard time cracking the top 10.

As we, and everyone else, has reported, following the wettest June this has been far and away the wettest July on record -- at least officially.

We wonder, however, if that July record should have an asterisk. Evidently, it was an airport-specific phenomenon.

Barring a shower before midnight, Philadelphia officially will finish at 13.24 inches for the month. Yet, the citywide total for the month, as calculated by the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, in State College, was only 4.8 inches.

MARFC, a National Weather Service office, uses the average of stations throughout a county (as we know, Philly is both a city and a county).

That 4.8 was almost dead-on normal. The neighboring counties on both sides of the river weighed in with 6 to 7 inches, well above normal, but not 13.24.

Lest anyone suspect that the airport measuring gauge had spent the day out drinking, however, check out this radar image of estimated precipitation amounts.

Especially note that dagger of Delco that juts into southwest Philly. That's right were the airport is located.

One indication of the localized nature of the rains is this: Heavy rains are possible again tomorrow, but the chances of major, widespread flooding are remote.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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